Review: Nail in the Coffin – The Fall and Rise of Vampiro (Fantastic Fest 2019)

Title: Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Director: Michael Paszt
Starring: Vampiro
Runtime: 1 hr 28 mins

What It Is: Professional wrestler Vampiro (Vampiro) is a legend in Lucha Libre, Mexico’s version of the sport. This documentary tells his tale from his beginnings in Canada to his transformation into the Vampiro Canadiese (Canadian Vampire) to legend status inside the ring. It looks long and hard about the side effects of a long career in the squared circle. One by the man’s own admission was not the easiest way to live.

What We Think: As an exploration of the wild world that is professional wrestling, this is an interesting one. As a film looking to explore one man’s journey within it, well that’s where this excels. Vampiro, who I had the pleasure of meeting at Fantastic Fest proves an enthralling subject. An almost enigmatic figure on this side of the border the film does a great job of showing just HOW big Vampiro was…and how important he still is to the Lucha game. It’s the personal moments. The everyday things that connected most with me. He’s more than face paint and violence. That inside there’s a man underneath the facade that is the character.

Our Grade: B+, Whether or not you’re a fan of the graps will be irrelevant. You’ll still walk away having gone on a journey with one man and his demons. A man fighting every day the scars of the past. Hellbent on living the best life for him and his teenage (at the time) daughter. Where most “wrestling” docs feature a macabre or negative light (looking at you Beyond the Mat) this had a more hopeful tone. Sort of an unexpected turn from a man who, to paraphrase the above trailer, “hates people so much”. I don’t know how much truth is in that. To me he seemed a lovely guy who really just wants to hang out with his family…and shoot stuff on his PS4. Who can say?

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